The Demon, The Starchild, The Catman, and The Spaceman emerged on the night of 1973’s March 9th in Amityville, New York, the iconic makeup designs associated with these personas debuting as the band took The Daisy’s stage. And while many musicians, before and since, have slathered themselves in face paint, this band with its four costumed characters — KISS — is arguably the best-known. If nothing else, their appearance certainly was the main inspiration behind Roman Klonek‘s first sculptural edition’s design, the Zmirky Dunny, an interpretation of this shock rock and black metal aesthetic onto Kidrobot‘s vinyl form with the Western European artist’s typically restrained palette, which may be a result of his devotion of the “lost cut” woodblock printing technique.

Roman Klonek and the Art of the “Lost Cut”

As a student in the ’90s, Klonek discovered a passion for woodcut printing, becoming enchanted by a technique known as the “lost cut”. This process entails the artist whittling down a single block of wood, carefully carving each hand-printed color’s relief one atop the other until only the most minor color’s surface remains. “After this”, Klonek explains, “the block is proverbially ‘lost'”, indicating how any relief’s surface prior to the final one have been carved away during the procedure. “After printing a certain number with the first color, the number of prints is set”, the artist clarifies, a limitation that many might see as a disadvantage. But there are “advantages of this method”, according to Klonek, including “the accuracy of fit, a variation of color surfaces from matte to shiny, and that you only need one block”. Due to the labor-intense nature of this process, Klonek tends to work with only three to five colors in any given design, the employment of as few colors as necessary having become “a personal aesthetic that [I’ve] developed over the years working with this medium”, Klonek admits.

Roman Klonek’s Zmirky Dunny

Staying true to his striking palette, Klonek’s Zmirky design for Kidrobot’s rabbit-eared Dunny shape embodies the artist’s graphically-rich color block standard. For instance, the 600 piece “standard” edition of the factory-decorated vinyl sculpture is adorned with white, black, and blue details over a red vinyl base. A primarily symmetrical design, “I think the broken guitar [it’s holding] brings a necessary asymmetry”, Klonek explains, adding that “it’s more appealing than [a strictly] mirror-like resemblance”. And while this obvious deviation from the overall structure is quite eye-catching, it also “fits so well with good music”, the artist continues, “where more attention or tension also can be achieved if the structure is not exactly mirror-symmetrical”.

Also being issued in a 200 piece Green edition that is exclusive to Kidrobot, Klonek’s creation is “a wild mix”, the artist confesses, the overall countercultural air disrupted by the inclusion of mainstream norms like a shirt collar and tie. As to why he added these into the design, “I think it’s because Zmirky is an unsuspecting kid”, Klonek explains, one who “has no real idea about genre codes and systems”, making the artist’s concept that of a blank slate in terms of fashion or trends, a potential reflection of the true self. But the true self here probably isn’t Klonek, whose “favorite bands have no makeup” in their onstage ensemble, his tribute to the lineage of makeup-adorned musicians incited by the fact that “from a visual point of view, KISS inspires [me] more than Metallica”, according to the artist. “Maybe he’s the only one with this style in the world”, Klonek says of his character creation. “A real rebel”.

Click Here to Acquire Roman Klonek’s 5″ Zmirky Dunny from Kidrobot, or Click Here to Find a Kidrobot Retailer to Order it from.

For more information on Roman Klonek:
website | behance | facebook | instagram | flickr

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